Behavioral product strategist and gamification designer. This is my public hypertext notebook, sharing my thinking in motion at various stages of development.


The most successful app adoptions come from a project


New users do not yet have the vocabulary to understand the app. A big mistake that many people make when they try out a new app is that they’ll try to understand features in a very abstract sense. They will try to understand what it is without knowing what it is for. When people make this mistake, Adoption goes down. Projects allow the app to Speak to the user with a shared vocabulary. They put functionalities into context, closing the feedback loop on learning the usefulness of said features.

This is exactly what happened with Francesco D’Alessio from Keep Productive (sorry for the roast buddy but this is what happened 🙂️) when he tried to do a “first impressions” video on Roam, having made 10 dummy pages that weren’t useful towards any project. He tried understanding a novel app without context, so the app wasn't able to effectively communicate its value. No wonder he didn't get it!

In order to have a successful onboarding experience, you don’t need to learn every feature. The user should learn enough of the app’s functionality to accomplish a goal. However, it’s still helpful to be aware of what features you have available to you so you can recognize the situations where you’ll need to learn it. Help the user to recognize situations for functionality usage.